Archive | March, 2017

Weird Whacky Backwards Wednesday  

30 Mar

“Confusion is just an illusion caused by a contusion, sensory overload, or just old age. I think I have all the above. Space queen.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It was very nice of most of you not to point out that yesterday was NOT Thursday. For some reason I did. So, to compensate for my old brain yet young spirit, I’m going to pretend today is Wednesday and make it all better. Kinda like a reverse time continuum for old people. It can be any day I want.

Today being Wednesday, I continued with my Wild and whacky theme. I went to Zumba. Everyone thought it was our regular Thursday class,  but I knew better. My coordination was in sync with my brain, which means, I was going left when everyone was going right. Don’t be concerned. I do that all the time. No concusion.

After class and a walk, I decided to run to Walmart and pick up some Peeps for my Peeps. I need to make my famous cupcakes soon. I bought ten boxes of assorted colored bunnies and some other groceries, then meandered out to my car. I opened up the passenger car door to put all the stuff in because the next stop was Home Depot for ten bags of mulch, so the back needed to remain empty. 

As I started walking to the driver’s side, I peeked in the back window to see if I remembered a tarp. Hmmm? It looked different. Where’s my plastic tray and tarp? When I went to sit in the car…. guess what? It wasn’t my car. Very embarrassed, I looked around to make sure no one was going to start yelling or shooting (it is Texas, after all.) Then, I nonchalantly got my cart back out, grabbed my five bags of stuff and went searching for an identical red Honda. It was two aisles down.

Yep, I blame it on sensory overload, not old age. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing! All part of  Whacky Backwards Wednesday.

Thankful Thursday:) One Hundred Blessings

30 Mar

“Start each day counting your blessings, and each day will be blessed.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“With full appreciation , count your blessings no matter how small they might seem. Gratitude and unconditional self-love are the best gifts that you could ever give to your inner-self.”

~Edmond Mbiaka


Yesterday, while I was reading posts by several interesting bloggers that I folllow, I ran across a story by Rachel Mankowitz. It was about the Jewish tradition of thinking of a hundred blessings each day. I shared the post. Here is a short excerpt…

“Trying to come up with one hundred blessings a day forces you to think about what you really feel grateful for on a daily basis. There are formal Hebrew blessings for tons of things: for fruit, bread, wine, and cake; for thunder and rainbows; and for the ability to go to the bathroom (Blessed are you, Lord, Our God, King of the universe who created man with many openings…if one of them were to be ruptured or blocked it would be impossible to survive).
Here’s one of mine:

Thank you God, the Universe, and Mother Nature, for the water I drink, the food I eat, the bed I sleep in, and the puppies who make me laugh every single day.”


Instead of just sharing the post, I decided to go one step further by implementing the concept. I take long walks everyday, and this is my thinking time. I’ll admit, sometimes the thoughts are not that happy or uplifting, sometimes just mundane plans for my day. Once in a while, I’ll sing show tunes out loud…yes I do!

This morning, I decided to see if I could think of one hundred blessings as I walked. I started out with… I woke up, I have a beautiful home, my health is good, (for an old gal). Then, I started just listing things in my head that I was thankful for…sunny day, blue sky, birds in the tree, the butterfly that greeted me. I listed my family and friends that I love so much and who have blessed my life…my two sons, Mom, two sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. I listed more names…Ann, John, their children, Joe, Rose, their kids, and the list went on. When I got to friends, oh my, the names were endless…Shirley, Mike, Mikey, Debbie, Lin, Diane, Mary, Donna, and a hundred more, and all the friends back home. My wonderful friends here…Lynne, Sherry, Karen, Lynda, Sherri, and then all my neighbors who have become family…Diane, Richard, Kathy, Mike, Larry, Sandy, Sue, and so many more, Friends from tennis, church, artist and writing friends, police officers and firemen. Then, there are friends that I’ve never met, but we became friends on Facebook or WordPress or Twitter. I continued for over an hour and never ran out of names to add.

The moral of the story is, when you focus and try to think of one hundred blessings, it turns out there are hundreds, if not thousands. Also, when your mind is occupied thinking of blessings and positive things, you have no time to dwell on negativity. 

This evening, I shared this concept with my support group at church, and they thought that was a great idea. We decided to make that our homework assignment. Start each day counting your blessings and each day will be blessed.

100 Blessings a Day

29 Mar

This is a beautiful tradition that would make each day such a joy. Counting our blessings each day, yet a hundred times, no less.


Recently, apropos of something else, my Rabbi mentioned that there is a custom in Jewish life to try and say one hundred blessings a day. Of course, I had to look this up right away. Despite a childhood in Jewish day schools, I had never heard of this one – which means nothing, really, because there’s too much for any one person to learn in a lifetime, let alone in elementary or high school.

There are text-based reasons for the choice of one hundred as the magical number of blessings, but that’s not what interested me. I tend to think you can find text based excuses for anything if you try hard enough. But the idea of one hundred blessings sounds whole and beautiful and challenging enough to encourage the kind of gratitude Oprah used to talk about with her gratitude journals. Saying a blessing is more than just gratitude…

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Tuesday:) Toni’s Artist Tip of the Day

29 Mar

“What’s the use of having a great idea if you don’t share it with the world?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’m trying to get my “crap room,” formerly known as my craft room reporganized again. I made a huge mess at Christmas time while painting a zillion ornaments, boxes, wine glasses, vases and other gifts. Glitter and litter everywhere. Also, I was teaching a few classes, so I’d pull out paints, brushes, glassware and stuff, and never really put it away because, well…I’d just have to find it and pull it out again. So the room was a disaster.

So yesterday, I decided that if I spend an hour or two a day working on cleaning up and organizing, that perhaps I might get done by Christmas. Then, the mayhem would start again. A vicious visual nightmare. Creative chaos! That’s what artists thrive on. At least this one.

I spent a good forty-five minutes just organizing my paint brushes, when you teach classes, you need a good variety of different size brushes for a lot of people. I love my paint brush organizing system. Being a tennis player…well, haven’t played in a few years…I always kept my empty tennis ball cans. (I don’t throw anything a way~repurpose,) Also, I would ask coach Dave or Coach Luis to save a few cases of empty cans. They were happy to see them go to good use instead of the landfill. The filmy Wilson labels come off with just a quick slit, and the clear containers are perfect for storage. I shared the idea and the cans with my senior artist friends, and other teachers, etc.

The tennis ball cans are the perfect size for most brushes, and a quick label can organize sizes. They could be used for many other things. Think about it…small kid’s toys, Leggos, buttons, nails, screws, just about any small things. I’ve put loose change in them. Once, I filled up three cans and took them to the bank and had over $200. Cool!

Then, where do you put all those containers, Miss Toni? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because I paint wine glasses, I often save a few empty boxes for storage of small delicate items, or I cut off the lids and use them to store the tennis ball containers.

The clear plastic allows you to see what’s inside at a glance. I know, you’re already thinking what you would use them for, aren’t you? And the best part…IT’S FREE!!!!

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

28 Mar

“Life is no different than the weather. Not only is it unpredictable, but it shows us a new perspective of the world every day.” ― Suzy Kassem


From glorious sunshine to trembling thunderstorms, it was an “unpredictable” week of weather, and whether or not. So many choices, so many chances, each day as unpredictable as the next. The storms and tornados that swept around last night were a reminder of life’s little surprises. All is well at my house. But, if you’re reading this, you and I, we’re still here. How grand is that?

A week in a peek. My blessings, buddies, and brownies. Friends, family, and furry companions.

Sunday Sermon, Stormy Weather, Blogging From the Bathroom, and Other Stuff

27 Mar

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” 

― Haruki Murakami


A beautiful sunny Sunday morning. So many smiles and morning greetings before Mass. Today’s Gospel was interesting. It was the story of Jesus bringing sight to the man born blind. He spat on the dirt, made mud, and anointed the blind man’s eyes, telling him to go wash his eyes. He told everyone about the miracle and they didn’t believe him. 

“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyesand told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash..’So I went there and washed and was able to see.”

Back in those days, people believed that illness, blindness,  and other physical disabilities were caused because of sin, something done by the person or passed down from family sins. They also felt the wealth and good health was bestowed to only good righteous people. Jesus said that wasn’t true.

“Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.


My take on it…. there are many thoughts that cross my mind. The clay or mud that was made to cure the blind man was made from the earth or dirt, we are made from dust and shall return,  and His saliva was the faith. Then, if you believe, your trials will be washed away. Symbolism at its finest. Also, it makes me think and reinforces that illness, blindness, physical problems, poverty, and other tribulations are not curses from God. He helps us deal with them. 

There are many good, kind, generous, and loving people who are poor, sick, or have had to carry a heavy load. There are many bad, evil, selfish people who are rich, powerful, have good health, and an easy life. It’s what you do with your life that counts at the end. 


After Mass, a quick trip to Sprouts, almonds, papaya, peppers and other fun stuff on sale. Yay! When I got home, I decided that almost falling asleep and nodding off at Mass wasn’t good, so Bella, my doggie companion and I took a nice afternoon nap, followed by a long walk. It was 80 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous out. I took her home then continued my walk. She was too hot. I stopped to chat with neighbors along the way and,…low and behold…Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy were in the garage. I was forced, against my will,  to stop and have a beer. The clouds started rolling in and the sky turned grey. I scurried home, fed Bella and took her for another walk before the scary stuff rolled in.

The calm before the storm. 

The storm rolled in. I wrote this poem.


Distant thunder drawing near.

Tornado watch announced, I hear.

A clash of thunder, a flash of light.

It’s bound to be a bumpy night….

It was….

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Somewhere around 8p.m. The thunderstorm started. The television shows were interrupted to show where the danger was. A short time later, the tornado siren warned to take cover.

Bella and I took pillows, blankets, a flashlight, and of course my iPad into the bathroom for safety. We are sitting here now, as I finish this post. BLOGGING FROM THE BATHROOM…hmm….could be a new exciting blog idea. Maybe not.

Well, it’s 9:40 now. It seems to have passed, but the hail pelting against the windows earlier was pretty scary, I sure hope that was the end of that. 

Happy Sunday, y’all. I hope everyone is safe and sound. 

Saturday:) “Something To Talk About” and a Soggy Penny In a Puddle

26 Mar

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

 – George Bernard Shaw


Everyone should have a a “bucket list.” It shouldn’t be things you want to do before you kick the bucket and die,  but rather the fun things you’ve always wanted to do to fill your bucket, and see your bucket overflowing day after day while you’re still alive.

I used to be a self-proclaimed fraidy-cat. Well, I still am a nervous-nelly, but I’ve been expanding my horizons, testing my wings, and working on my bucket list. One of the things I was afraid to do was get up in front of people and sing. My friend Sherri Murphy invited me to go with her to sing karaoke last year. I was nervous and I sang sooo bad and off key, but I did it. That was on my bucket list.

So, when a few friends planned on going to the local VFW Hall to sing karaoke a few weeks ago, I thought, hmm…I should join them. I need to keep filling up my bucket and enjoy the challenges. I was a little nervous, but my friend Bob offered to do a duet with me. I had to think of a quick song for a duet. We sang Bonnie Raiit’s “Something To Talk About.” Fun song.

Here’s the song, in case you aren’t familiar with it. It’s not me and Mr. Bob singing. We’re not ready to go on the road yet. 

So, this past Thursday, the gang was going back. Bob and I sang the same song again, this time it was much better and pretty funny. Then, I sang a solo, one of my favorites, “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” No longer a fraidy-cat, just another off key karaoke kid.

I love to sing. I’m going back again next week. I always say, “I sing loud. I sing proud. I sing off key.” I’m not quitting my day job! Oops! I don’t have a day job. Lucky thing. Speaking of luck…

Today, while I was walking, my eye glanced down and found a lucky penny. I have no idea how I even saw it, with dirt and leaves and sitting in a puddle. Just meant to be, just for me. Of course, I picked it up, wiped it off and put it in my pocket. Lucky me.

Friday Friends, Brownies and Beer

25 Mar

“Good neighbors always spy on you to make sure you are doing well.” ― Pawan Mishra


If you didn’t read my post from yesterday, my back fence was falling apart, flapping around from the strong winds. I tired to brace it up with a chair and a few rusty wrong sized nails. Didn’t work.

All night, I heard the squeak, creak of the wobbly section of fence. When I woke, I heard the rain and wind, fearing that my fence would be laying flat on the grass. Fortunately, it was still standing, but resting against the chair. The rain finally stopped and the sun came out around 1. I decided to go for my walk and hopefully run into Mr. Larry. 

I passed the garage, but it wasn’t open. Oh no! I walked slowly past the front of the house and I saw Mr. Larry by the front window. I waved and suddenly the garage door opened. I said it was to early for a beer as he reach for the fridge door. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, I know, but I have a handyman question,” I sputtered as I plopped in my chair.

Ms. Sandy came out just in time to hear my falling fence story. They both offered to come over and take a look at the problem. I’ve got the greatest neighbors! 

The doorbell rang about twenty minutes later, Mr. Larry with his power drill and Ms. Sandy with a box of 2 1/2 in galvanized deck screws. Long story short, they removed my makeshift patch and secured the fence with six screws. It’s a cheap, not that well installed fence, like all the others, but it’s a lot more secure for a while. (I should have taken a picture.)

Neighbors looking out for neighbors. After they left, I started on a batch of brownies to take over later. Of course, I had to make a funny face in the mix. It’s tradition.

I walked over later with some brownies and a beer for me, but the garage was closed. They were eating dinner. I was invited in, but I stayed only a minute, put my beer in the fridge, and said I’d finish my walk and stop over after dinner. 

About an hour later, the garage was open, I grabbed a beer from the fridge, sat and talked with nice neighbors, and all was right with the world once again.

Theme Song Thursday:) If I had a Hammer

24 Mar

“Love and kindness are the hammer and chisel that gently chip through barriers and long-held beliefs to reveal the magnificent soul contained within every human.” ― Molly Friedenfeld


It’s been a blustery windy day, fortunately, I’m well anchored, so I didn’t get blown away, but the wind went sweeping in one ear and out the other. A little joke…nothing between my ears to stop it. 

Afterwards, I decided to sit in the backyard, do a little reading, and enjoy the sunshine. As I sat there, I noticed that my back fence was swaying back and forth. Hmmm? I walked back there and saw that the corner section of fence was anchored to… absolutely nothing. It was floating, not connected to the fence next door or the other back fence. There was a center wooden post, that didn’t look sturdier than a fat toothpick. 

All I could think to do was prop up a heavy metal patio chair to prevent the cheap fence from falling over. That didn’t help much. I went in the house. I knew I had a hammer somewhere, but I don’t have a tool box with nails or screws. Mr. Ex took all that stuff. All I had were some small picture hangers and a few nails that I found in the street on my walks.

I attempted to pound a couple of nails from the end of my fence to the one next door. They just popped out with the first gust of wind. I found a piece of old wood to try and join the seems. That didn’t work either, and I had to run off to meet some writer friends at 5:30. I just left the chair to hold up the section.

As I sit here tonight, the fence is squeaking, squealing, and flapping in the wind. I just hope it is still there in the morning. I may have to give my neighbor, Mr. Larry, a call. He has a garage full of tools. (Not just beer) Maybe he’ll have an idea as how to secure the sections. The fence isn’t even three years old. Crazy! 

If I had a hammer…I’d…I’d have a few words with the guys who pretended to put up my fence.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom in the Walsh Garage

23 Mar

Never judge someone by the way he looks or a book by the way it’s covered; for inside those tattered pages, there’s a lot to be discovered.     
~Stephen Cosgrove


Where do you get your latest news, important information, and neighborhood gossip? Do you watch CNN, Fox News, or BBC World? Personally, I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing. Once in a while, I’ll get a glimpse of something vital about world events when I scroll through my Facebook page. But, the majority of all the important worldly news I’ve gleaned has been imparted when I sit and have a beer in Larry and Sandy’s garage when I go for my evening walks.

Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy sit in their garage pretty much every evening, with their gorgeous and well trained German shepherd named Wolf. I’m always invited to sit, grab a beer from the well stocked fridge, and find out what’s happening in the world. John, nextdoor, is often there to share in the wisdom. 

Oh, you should have heard the conversations during the heated election. But, for today, I found out about the rigorous basic training regime when Mr. Larry joined the Navy. The commentary is often humorous, with funny jokes or smart retorts. He said he joined he Navy because of the slogan, “Join the Navy and see the world.” They forgot to mention that you had to know how to swim, which Larry did not. He almost drowned before he even set foot on a ship. 

As we sat and listened to more stories, there was a constant play-by-play of who just got home from work, or which kids riding their bikes or playing in the street are in danger of getting run over. At one point Larry said that Mrs. Brown just got home. I chimed in…”And does Mrs. Brown got a lovely daughter?” I didn’t think he would get the song reference, but he did, and commented that she had three lovely daughters. Sandy thought the song was by the Beatles, and I thought it was Herman’s Hermits. I started to sing the song…Mrs. brown you’ve got a lovely daughter… I said that I’d Google it and see who sang it. I was right.

I asked Larry if he ever looks up facts or songs on his phone, and he said that he didn’t have a smart phone, just an old fashioned flip phone. Then, something silly popped in my head. I said, “Mr. Larry, you should invent your own app. Everyone has a Smartphone, or a Smart-TV, or Smart technology. You should create an app with just your phone number. People call you on your flip phone and ask you a question, and you give them a Smart-Ass answer. You can call it the Smart-Ass App.”

Oh boy, everyone had a good laugh. (And I didn’t even have a beer this time.) But, the little glimmer in Mr. Larry’s eye made me think that he was seriously contemplating the possibility. And you know what? I think he could pull it off.